04.01.2021

Best RPL matches in 2020: Zenit's championship match, and the longest game in history

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We have looked back to pick out the best Russian Premier Liga matches of 2020

FC Rostov 3-2 CSKA Moscow (9 March)

The visitors were already down to 10 men after the dismissal of Ilzat Akhmetov, but Roman Eremenko missed the resulting penalty. Despite playing in the minority, the Armymen broke the deadlock thanks to a goal by Arnor Sigurdsson, although they did not lead for long: just six minutes later, Eremenko drew Rostov level.

After the break, another CSKA man - defender Vadim Karpov - was punished with a straight red card for a foul in the penalty area, and Ivelin Popov put his team ahead. A little later, Pavel Mamaev, who had not played for a year and a half, made his debut for Rostov, and it took him four minutes to score his first goal for the new team.

Nevertheless, CSKA continued to attack and pulled one back. After a shot from Fedor Chalov, the ball hit Maksim Osipenko and bounced into the Rostov net. Chalov could have equalized, but Sergey Pesyakov kept out his spot kick. The match ended in the 10th added minute with a 3-2 win for Rostov.

FC Rostov 1-1 FC Krasnodar (1 July)

Rostov played 100 minutes not only against CSKA, but also in the game with Krasnodar, which became the longest in the history of the Premier League; in added time, the teams played 19 minutes.

In the first half, Krasnodar quickly opened the scoring thanks to a goal by Marcus Berg. Rostov hit back at the death from the penalty spot: in the second added minute, Krasnodar defender Kaio handled the ball in the area, and after an eight-minute video review, Vitaly Meshkov awarded a penalty, which was converted by Ivelin Popov. The eventual length of the match was 111 minutes and 25 seconds.

FC Krasnodar 2-4 Zenit St. Petersburg (5 July)

The matchday 26 meeting of the 2019/20 season was important from a tournament perspective for both teams: Krasnodar could close the gap to second-placed Lokomotiv, and Zenit could become champions ahead of schedule and set a new record: previously, the winner of the championship hadn’t been determined any earlier than matchday 27.

At the beginning of the match, Sardar Azmoun put St. Zenit ahead, and in the middle of the first half, Daniil Utkin equalised from a Sergey Petrov pass. At the end of the first 45 minutes, the Southerners could have led, but Wanderson's penalty was saved by Andrey Lunev. As it turned out, it was Zenit who went into the break ahead after Artem Dzyub’s added time penalty.

Immediately after the break, Daniil Utkin completed his first double in the RPL, but two minutes later Azmoun again put Zenit ahead. Another goal was scored by substitute Aleksey Sutormin. Zenit won 4-2 and became six-time RPL champions.

FC Tambov 1-2 Dynamo Moscow (1 November)

Before the November meeting, Tambov and Dynamo had met each other four times - twice each in the FNL and RPL – and in all cases the Blue-Whites were stronger.

Dynamo took the lead in Saransk in the eighth minute after a goal by top scorer Daniil Lesovoy. In the second half, Tambov were left with nine men: in the space of six minutes, Sergey Karasev sent off Anton Kilin and Guram Tetrashvili. But even in the minority, Tambov managed to equalise: German Onugkha converted a penalty in the 64th minute.

In added time, after debutant Tyukavin's shot, the ball hit a defender's hand, and the referee awarded a penalty, which was successfully taken by Nikolay Komlichenko. However, a few minutes later, the striker fouled in his own penalty area. Onugkha again stepped up, but Anton Shunin managed to block his shot and brought the Muscovites a 2-1 victory.

Khimki 3-2 Lokomotiv (17 December)

Not only was Ilya Kukharchuk, who had scored in the previous three games, in good shape for the meeting with Lokomotiv, but also Khimki themselves, whose winless streak had reached five matches. The Railwaymen were the first to score via Grzegorz Krychowiak, and 10 minutes later Khimki were awarded their own penalty, which was converted by former Lokomotiv academy product Arshak Koryan. However, the score didn’t remain equal for long - in the 37th minute, Murilo put Lokomotiv ahead.

The turning point was the last 10 minutes. Khimki equalised in the 85th minute thanks to Kukharchuk's goal, and in the third added minute Aleksandr Dolgov sealed a famous 3-2 victory for Khimki.


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